Youth Aspirations and Resilience Research and Uptake

Key Details

Dates: March 2021 – December 2023

Research question: what are young women and men’s aspirations, and what adaptability and resilience strategies are employed to pursue these aspirations, especially in the face of militating policy, pandemic and other challenging environments?

Where: Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda Senegal, Uganda

Project Lead/PI: Martin Atela


Narratives about young women and men and their aspirations, especially in Africa, are constantly in flux. Initially perceived as disruptive and even lazy, young women and men are now gradually seen as productive, creative and resilient (Ligtvoet, 2018). There is, however, no permanence to this emerging perspective, especially when one factors in the globally disruptive impact of Covid-19. The pandemic brought immense distress globally, but it has also provided young women and men opportunities to showcase creativity, resilience and technological savviness. This perspectival instability about young people calls for a constant revisit of their world, especially young people’s aspirations and resilience in the unstable face of a global pandemic.

This project explores young women and men’s aspirations and resilience in Africa before and during COVID-19 to understand the implications of the crisis for young women and men’s lives now and in the future. The project involves in-depth work in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal and Uganda.

Project period:
March 2021 – December 2023
Project Supported by:
MasterCard Foundation

Project contact person:
Dr Martin Atela:

Project work involves three work packets:

  1. Part I: Analysis of youth aspirations qualitative data collected before COVID-19 in Ghana, Kenya, Senegal and Uganda and a synthesis of the evidence bringing together quantitative and qualitative data
  2. Part II: COVID-era data & analysis – large scale survey involving nationally representative samples among youths in the seven project countries
  3. Part III: Stakeholder engagement and evidence uptake

Project Leadership Team:

Country Teams:

  1. Kenya: Dr Njoki Wamae, Country PI Kenya and Project Qualitative lead Victor Onyango, Research Associate
  2. Ghana: Dr Thomas Yeboah, Country PI
  3. Senegal: Dr Ibrahim Niang, Country PI
  4. Ethiopia: Dr Adamnesh Bogale, Country PI
  5. Uganda: Dr Victoria Namuggala, Country PI
  6. Nigeria: Dr Babatunde Ojebuyi – Country PI